Stage Designs of Richard Finkelstein

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Richard Finkelstein
630 Stonewall Dr
Harrisonburg, VA 22801
Finkelstein Stage Designs - simplified resume
Dance Photography by R. Finkelstein
Dance Artwork by Richard Finkelstein


Fine Arts Photography by R. Finkelstein



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Set Design and Lighting Design by R. Finkelstein

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Arthur Miller's Playing for Time: - Scenic  Design by R. Finkelstein - Produced at the Perry Mansfield Academy and Camp in Steamboat Springs in the summer of 2000. The set was a kinetic one with various sets of shutters that could traverse the stage in various patterns. There was also a Brectian curtain on-which shadow-play could be projected.

Two murals graced the walls of the theatre. One of these is depicted below. Each was about 8 feet in height by 24 feet in length, and each was painted in just one evening (due to constraints in painting space.)

Production Photos



This production was presented at The Perry-Mansfield Academy and Camp, in the Julie Harris Theatre. A full explanation of the circumstances of the Perry-Mansfield productions is offered earlier in this portfolio in the section on Into the Woods.

As in the case of Woods, resources available were extremely limited. The budget was around $1,000 and the set had to be built by about 3 of us in less than a week.

There was no shop space available so set construction had to share the space with rehearsal functions. The critical shortage of space had a special impact on the painting of the two 8 foot by 24 foot murals decorating the walls of the theatre. I had to paint these in another rehearsal room. Since the room was in constant use for rehearsals, I had to paint each of the murals during a short 8-hour window starting at 10pm on two subsequent nights.

Into the Woods explored the use of organic forms in the space. It explored the use of earth tones. In contrast, this production was presented in a thrust configuration, using only neutral tones, except for the red of the swastikas adorning the murals.

In actuality this production was presented immediately before Woods, and the time available for the basic turnover was only a day. With this in mind I played origami with the central acting platform. For Woods, this thrust came out into the room, was re-legged, and clad in floorboards to become the new main acting area. Designing for Perry Mansfield is all about being clever and spare in the use of resources.

Description of the Settings:

The setting used much of the warn with time environment of the raw Julie Harris theatre. In a sense, for this show I used the same division of space on stage that I had earlier used in Clytemnestra, but to vastly different effect.

The stage proper had placed on it, three sets of screens made from horizontal weathered boards. Two of these sets of screens could move horizontally so as to form walls, entries, etc.

On the back wall, we made use of the large barn-like loading door. At the start of the show, the performers were outside of the theatre. They entered through this rear door which was then slammed, giving sound and voice to the image presented by Arthur Miller of the prisoners entering the cattle car for the journey to the extermination camps.

At the front of the stage, was a thrust that extended significantly into the audience space. There were some changes of level, but the image was largely one of blank space.

Conceptual Foundations:

The image of the characters being herded into the cattle car at the start of the script is a striking one. This image gave genesis to the structure of the design. The use of the moving slatted screens never let the image of this animalistic imprisonment leave the minds of the audience.

The lighting designer mimicked this motif through the use of a Film Noire style of colorless, contrasty, slashes and slits of light.

In homage to the work of Brecht, I made use of a half-stage curtain onto which could be projected silhouettes of actors at various key dramatic points in the script.

What I set out to do was to create a striking, spare, dramatic, space to be dominated by the actors in the piece.